Wuhan Boulevard

PHOTOBOOK BY ALESSANDRO ZANONI


[click cover to preview photobook]

2017 / 1st edition
Limited of 100

36 photographs
86 pages
29.7×21 cm
Hardcover, perfect binding

Euro €32.50

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Wuhan Boulevard is an invitation to a journey through a city in progress where time stands still. A journey through an elevated urban railway located in the capital of Hubei province traversed by the Yangtze River: Wuhan. Consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or unthinkingly, the focus on a specific mode of transportation is of particular interest. Wuhan is indeed a major transport and logistic hub connecting key provinces in China, notably thanks to its port. Yet the usual watery landscapes that surround the city are not the focal point of this visual journey. Wuhan Boulevard is in truth one of the stops of the metro line one Zanoni has used to travel across the city. Immediately struck by this appellation, the artist chooses it while thumbing his nose at the fantasy about the Western famous boulevards, such as the Sunset Boulevard: the legendary route to fame and success in Los Angeles. But here the glamour and the density have turned into a rather unsettling and abandoned urban environment. Here we embark on a train that leads to an infinite landscape made of concrete and empty skyscrapers, an endless road towards unceasing urbanization.

Wuhan Boulevard seizes non-places, in other words transitional spaces which are supposed to be crossed. Probing into social commentary, the series reifies the notion of unqualified city. It allows us to look behind giant advertising panels, unveiling a dreamt city struggling to be completed, a city made of brand-new skycrapers that cohabit with old crumbling housing, a city built to welcome more inhabitants while excluding others. In fact Wuhan is the most populous city in Central China, but it seems its inhabitants have been discarded from these photographs. Where are the people? Only a lone wanderer here and there, or some cloths hung outside testify to the human presence. What is left of their houses then? Are they under construction or being knocked down? Zanoni’s pictures unveil an anxiety about modernization. A sense of dehumanization, of alienation, while enhancing at the same time local attempts to take over these non-places.

Zanoni does not only document what contemporary Chinese metropolises are made of today. He embraces the role of the urban flâneur by exploring the ways in which inhabitants can move or are prevented from moving across their environment. Zanoni climbs up the ground hills, cuts across rubbish mounds, wanders around forbidden construction areas, while gazing from above on the elevated railway. As an attempt to depict a city on the move populated with people on the move, these photographs reinforce the fact that paths are alternatively opened and obstructed.

In sum Wuhan Boulevard intertwines the notions of order with disorder, hope with disillusion, leftover past with uncertain future. It caught a glimpse of Chinese urban life as the train is passing by.

Marine Cabos
Art historian – Photography of China

 

ALESSANDRO ZANONI

He’s a visual designer and photographer based in Milan, Italy. After attending Fine Art School and taking courses in illustration at the European Design Institute of Milan, he began his profession as a graphic designer, first in the field of printing and publishing and subsequently in web and interaction design. A devourer of music he worked for a decade writing reviews for the influential rock magazine Jam. He recently began his approach to photography obtaining important awards at the IPA’s and Sony World Photography Awards. He have exhibited in both solo and group shows in Milan, Naples Paris and New York. A tireless metropolitan traveler, his work is focused on finding unusual and urban wastelands: the quest of human footprint in the anthropocene era captured through the lens of his sleek yet detached gaze.

ALESSANDROZANONI.COM

 

 

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